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  • In As Dreams Are Made On, the protagonist, Cass, is a thirty-ish or forty-ish year old woman who has found herself in the body of a seventeen-year-old Bella Swan. As the story is a riff on Twilight, this trope applies to the various vampire characters as well.
  • Glastig "the Fairy Queen" Uaine from Atonement looks like a little kid, but that's because one of her ghosts is able to store age. She's really one of the older parahumans out there.
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  • Becoming more than what I am.: Being an angel, Max has existed since the dawn of time. She only looks like a teenager.
  • Lady Venus in The Blue Blur of Termina. According to Tatl, despite appearing to be in the human equivalent of her late twenties, she is actually over five hundred years old.
  • In The Bridge multiple individuals have very slowed or stopped aging once they hit their physical prime.
    • Princess Celestia is over a thousand years old and yet looks like she's in her late 20s, early 30s at most; on account of her being an alicorn and creation of Harmony.
    • Anguirus, an artificially created elemental kaiju, is over 70,000 years old and hardly looks any older than Celestia.
    • Monster X is roughly 400 years old but looks like he's in his mid 20s when in human form, likely on account of his aging being halted when he changes from a normal Xilian to a kaijin.
    • Princess Cadance is actually Princess Amore's daughter, having been spirited away by King Caesar and forward through time to about two decades before the start of the show. This makes her over a thousand years old and just a bit younger than Celestia and Luna, yet she is physically in her mid 20s.
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  • Cole in Bringing Me To Life looks twenty but is over seventy-years old. Being an A.I. in The Matrix he doesn't age physically. Cole's adopted father, Smith, also an A.I. is over six hundred years old, but only looks like he's thirty or forty.
  • While her age is already vague, Ryuuko from Cellar Secrets is older than what she looks and, according to Amoridere, her general appearance can be described as "prepubescent". Rather justified, as she was made to live caged in the basement and was horrifically abused and neglected which stunted any growth and development.
  • Child of the Storm has pretty much all Asgardians as this. Of humans, examples include Doctor Strange (over 400 — actually, more like 500,000, and doesn't look a day over 40), his former apprentice Wanda Maximoff (45, looks under 30), Natasha (over 80, looks under 30 thanks to the Russian Infinity Formula), and Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, thanks to the Russian Infinity Formula and Zola's modifications. There's also the First Class of X-Men, who were de-aged during a Noodle Incident sometime before the story starts, leaving them all looking considerably younger than they are (Sean, for instance, is in his 60s but looks in his 30s).
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  • A Diplomatic Visit: As chapter 10 of Diplomacy Through Schooling reveals, Cozy Glow turns out to be an adult in a child's body, thanks to a medical disorder that keeps her from aging physically; she forged her "parents'" signatures on her application to Twilight's school.
  • In Donna Noble and the Magic Castle, the residual effects of the metacrisis cause Donna Noble to regenerate on her deathbed and somehow travel through the Cardiff rift to 1991, now looking like she's eleven years old again but with both her own memories of her original 89 years of life and some of the Doctor's restored memories.
  • In the Sonic the Hedgehog trilogy Echoes of Eternity, and its AU oneshot Snow Angel, it's mentioned that Maria is almost thirteen, however her illness means that she has the build of a girl several years her junior.
  • Echoes of Yesterday: In this Worm/DC Universe crossover, Supergirl looks younger than twenty due to suspended animation shenanigans but she's technically forty-eight.
    Taylor: Are you sure you're eighteen?
    Kara: Technically I'm forty-eight. I just aged gracefully.
  • Enter Ken Finlayson: Niall is a minor example. He is fourteen but looks and sounds seven years younger. His child-like appearance is a factor.
  • Escape From the Moon:
    • Spliced Genome, who hasn't aged in six thousand years.
    • Subtle Dancer, who's been around since before Spliced and yet hasn't aged since they met all those thousands of years ago.
  • Fate/Harem Antics:
    • Illya, as in canon, is eighteen but looks about twelve. Her grandfather modified her body to give her an advantage in the Holy Grail War, and this was a side effect. She leans into it a bit, such as referring to Shirou as her big brother despite him actually being younger than her.
    • Saber as well. Her aging was frozen when she first pulled the sword from the stone. She looks slightly younger than Shirou, but is decades older; he only realizes this when she mentions that she's "not good with children" when referring to his classmates. In her case it's not much of a surprise, since she acts with a maturity befitting her real age.
  • In Power Girl story A Force of Four, Power Girl is 69 and looks 29. There's delayed growing and aging involved.
    Superman had called this city home since 1938. Now it was 1985, and whatever responsibilities it held for superhumans had been passed on to her own white-clad, red-caped shoulders. Some people below saw her, pointed, shouted at her, waved their hands wildly. She gave a half-hearted wave back, not really looking at them.
    Power Girl wore a white leotard, cut high on the thighs and low on the chest... a great distraction for evildoers, and any other males past puberty. Her feet were hidden in blue buccaneer boots, she wore blue gloves (none of that stupid bare-handed stuff for her; Kal's leaving fingerprints had gotten him in trouble more than once), and had a red belt with a gold buckle slung low on her hips (she had it and wasn't afraid to show it).
    She had been born in 1916, and had the body of a 29-year-old. Her origin was far, far stranger than Kal's.
  • In Friendship Is Optimal: The Law Offices of Artemis, Stella & Beat, Joanne is apparently in her mid to late 20s and runs her own high-powered law firm. Turns out she's way older.
  • In the Gensokyo 20XX series, we have this with Reimu, who was age-regressed to a child during the events of 20XXI, and Yukari, who fits into youkai tradition by being older than she appears.
  • The Golds: While it is established that werecats age faster mentally than humans, it is brought up that she is actually older chronologically than she looks because of the effect world-jumping has on her age.
  • A Green Dragon's Hoard: Manami Aiba looks like a 9 year old despite being 22. Though this mostly applies to her height and face, as more than one character has mentioned she's ridiculously stacked.
  • The Naruto fanfic Hakumei has a jounin-level villain in her late teens convincingly disguise herself as a 12-year old genin.
  • The Heart Trilogy:
    • Kathryn is nineteen years old when she first meets Smaug, but after she becomes magically connected to the dragon, his magic keeps her from aging physically. By the time of the third part of the trilogy, she's about 140 years old.
    • Andraya is the mother of a teenaged daughter and speaks like someone in her fourth decade, but her beauty makes it look like she's in her mid-twenties.
  • Here There Be Monsters: Due to the ancient magic slowing their aging processes to a crawl, Billy, Mary and Freddy look physically fifteen, but they'are in their late twenties.
    Edith Bromfield: "Will you always be this young, do you think?"
    Mary Bromfield: "I don't know. I hope not. I pray not. I mean, Mom.... you'd think being 15 forever would be a great thing, wouldn't you, unless you really had to do it?"
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Like in canon, all the countries are this. Germany, Italy, and Japan all look 20 despite them being 1054, 2484, and 3284 years old respectively. That, and they are also really hard to kill.
  • Hiro Hamada from Keep Your Head Down is a 26 year old man who still looks like a young teenager. He's really tired of young girls flirting with him, thinking that he's their age.
  • Zigzagged with in Kyon: Big Damn Hero, with Kyon, Mikuru, Kanae, and Yuki aging a year during training every night, but having Yuki de-age them afterwards with added Laser-Guided Amnesia. Then, Kyon time-travels all over the place, running errands for his future self, which makes things more complicated.
  • The Chiss Force user Grein in Star Wars Paranormalities Trilogy is biologically 41 years old, but doesn't look much older than 30. Lampshaded by other characters and Hand Waved by her as being a combination of a Force-user and a Chiss. And that isn't even taking her chronological age into account.
  • Happens with Loki in this fic, where he decides to use his new appearance to hide from the alien army he pissed off previously.
  • Discussed by Empath and Homnibus in the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "The Exile Of Psychelia", where the elderly human wizard is surprised by how young Empath looks for 151 years of age.
  • In Bait and Switch Eleya describes Admiral Amnell Kree as "well-preserved but something about her leads me to peg her age as sixty-something." And that's just the Trill host we're talking about; the symbiont lands in Really 700 Years Old territory.
  • Hivefled's Grand Highblood, as a purple-blood troll, would have lived potentially thousands of years anyway, but after a life-extending kiss from Condesce he's lasted much longer than he should have. An elderly seatroll, whose caste usually live even longer than the purples, notes that when he was born GH was already an adult in his prime.
  • My Lesbian Life with Monster Girls: Monster Yurisume: Mara looks to be fourteen, but is in fact twenty years old by small-breed arachne standards. In fact, according to her, her sisters think she actually looks older.
  • Played for laughs in a The Martian fic in which Dr. Beck admits that he got a lot of Doogie Howser jokes while in med school and couldn't buy alcohol until he was 23 because he looked considerably younger than he actually was and no one would believe his ID was real.
  • In Out of the Big Black, Jim Kirk has become this trope, having experienced sixty years of life and skipped eighty-nine more, before being physically de-aged back to around thirty.
  • Claire is only one year younger than Gray in Pretty Ore, but she looks much younger than him.
  • Chapter 11 of One More Time, One More Chance says that Ryuko is small for age and, apparently, she's in her teens. To add to this, she also acts younger, too.
  • It's mentioned in Mind Brigade that Jill has an almost child-like look to her despite being in her 20s.
  • At the start of TheInvertedShadow's Lyrish series, Lyra and Bon Bon seem to be young adults. By the time the third episode rolls around, decades have passed in-universe; yet, neither of them look as if they've aged at all. Likewise, how Lyra's robot companion has stayed functioning for that same length of time without showing any signs of wear and tear is not explained.
  • A Knight's Tale as Inquisitor: Arturia is in actuality an 35-year old that looks 15-years old thanks to getting Avalon, which she lost shortly before the Battle of Camlann.
  • In My Huntsman Academia, 17-year-old Izuku is often pegged as several years younger than he actually is thanks to his babyish face and his relatively short height from living without an Aura until recently, being only as tall as Ruby, a 15-year-old, at the start of the story.
  • Three instances in The Night Unfurls:
    • High elves and dark elves in this story have a long lifespan but do not suffer the effects of old age, a common trait of elven species shown in a fantasy setting. For example, Celestine and Olga are stated to have indirectly fought each other for centuries. Grace has lived for 300 years, with Anna being 20 years her senior.
    • Half-ling commander Shalala looks like a little girl, but her true age is in her thirties.
    • Kind of true for Kyril. Whenever one notices Kyril lowering his bandanna, they are often surprised at how young he looks like. While he has an appearance of a young man somewhere in the twenties, the story has not confirmed his real age. However, if we consider his true nature, as well as the unknown time-skip between the Childhood's Beginning ending and the beginning of the story, we can safely assume that he is in fact very, very old.
      Kyril: You have a question?
      Olga: No, I just... did not expect someone so young.
      Kyril: I assure you, I am older than I look.
  • Monkey Dee Luffy in None Piece is 45 years old yet looks like he's 16. When questioned on this, he responds with "you try getting wrinkles being made of rubber".
  • It's mentioned in Not a Monster that Princess Peach is pretty baby-faced. She wears makeup to look more her age.
  • Invoked by Danny in Operation I'm Totally 300 when he gets Clockwork to help him travel to the past with the intent of getting sighted so that people will believe that Phantom is centuries old instead of a normal teenager.
  • Pony POV Series:
    • Taken Up to Eleven with Princesses Celestia and Luna: they're actually older than the universe. Their physical bodies are 'only' a couple thousand. The same applies with all of their siblings.
    • The Elders are even older, having created and outlived the universe multiple times. Their default avatars seem to be foals for Havoc, the Father, and Fauna Luster and an average aged mare for Entropy. Maud Pie actually is a mortal incarnation of Entropy and becomes Entropy's default avatar.
    • The Chaos Six in Dark World are over a thousand years old, but frozen in the age they got the Elements of Chaos.
    • Diamond Tiara and Golden Tiara in Dark World are just as old, but were made immortal by Discord when they became his minions.
    • Part of Discord's curse on Dark World Derpy kept her alive for a thousand years. When she's freed, she's in her prime.
    • Scootaloo and Granny Smith are both resurrected in Dark World following Discord and Nightmare Eclipse's final defeats, but chose to come back as foals despite being an adult and old mare respectively when they passed. Scootaloo to get back what Discord took from her and Granny Smith because she got a second chance at life, why not start off young again?
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines Lt. Surge looks around 30 but is stated as being a war veteran. Given that the last war ended 40 years ago, he's at least 58.
  • In Ponies After People, it is possible for someone to become younger when they become a pony.
    • Midway through The Last Pony on Earth, an angry unicorn with a damaged horn de-ages Lonely Day to be sixteen years of age.
    • It is later revealed that Lonely Day, due to a deal with the princesses, can no longer age. This is a bit of a problem because she's stuck with the body of a 16-year-old.
  • Neopolitan (on the left in the picture) from RWBY could easily pass for a teenager when she pretended to be a student, but is a victim of Vague Age in canon. How old is she in The Makings of Team CRME? Twenty-five!note  For reference, her boss Roman Torchwick (to the right) is depicted as thirty years old in the fic series. In Roman's Empire where she first appears, she says she's twenty-two when Roman is twenty-seven and he has a hard time believing that she's only five years younger than him. When Mercury and Emerald (who are eighteen at the time) meet her in CRME, Mercury expresses disbelief that Neo is older than them. And before that, when Roman tells Cinder what she looks like when she needs to find her, he says Neo looks like a twelve-year-old.
    "There is no way she’s actually that old! She’s probably fifteen, tops!" — Roman's narration after finding out her age.
  • In Ponies After People, it's possible for someone to become younger when they become a pony.
    • Early in the story, an angry unicorn with a damaged horn de-ages Lonely Day to be sixteen years of age.
    • It is revealed that Lonely Day, due to a deal with the princesses, can no longer age. This is a bit of a problem because she's only 16 and is stuck that age.
  • Queen of All Oni: Blankman, Jade's Enigmatic Minion, looks middle aged despite the fact that a flashback to his childhood is set in 1929.
  • Queens: Cedar looks and acts much like a teenager, but she's much older than Raven. She used to babysit Raven. Cedar ages slowly, like a tree.
  • John Constantine in Raisin' Some Hell states that he's lived in the House of Mystery for 25 years. This leads to Luz questioning if he's lived there since he was a kid due to him appearing to be in his 30s. John responds that he's lived in the house since his early thirties, making him at minimum 55 despite looking much younger. He even lampshades this.
    John: I'm older than I look, Squire.
  • re:Bound (RWBY): Neo is forced to go to Beacon, despite already being far beyond the teaching level. She's 23 and the average first year is only 17, but thankfully Neo is very short and petite.
  • In Ring-Maker, Taylor Hebert looks like an average teenager, but later it's revealed she's Sauron reincarnated, which effectively makes her older than time itself.
  • In Roadside Assistance, Velvet asks Yang if her sister is an adult. Ruby's just turned 25, but she still looks like a teen.
  • In The Sage's Disciple, the protagonist Crow is 23, but has been mistaken for being as young as 14 before despite being a full grown adult. It's a point of irritation for him, but one that he can't do anything about. He's mentioned that his mother and grandfather both had the same issue well into their 40s.
  • In The Second Try, Shinji and Asuka look fourteen but they're in their early twenties.
  • Syaoran in Shatterheart looks fifteen but is actually twenty-one. He didn't physically age when he was imprisoned for seven years.
  • Summer is the oldest member of the STRQ household in Silver Rings and Golden Hearts. She's also the shortest and most youthful.
  • Nadia from Slice of Heaven was in her 40s when she died but Rover accidentally turned her Residual Self-Image into a child.
  • Saito Hiraga in Soldier of Zero has a note in his file that says while he looks to be about seventeen, he's closer to thirty. He even mentions that his younger sister is married and expecting.
  • Son of the Black: While Jatar is older than Barbara by a few centuries, he is still technically a teenager in troll-years, thus Barbara treats him like one.
  • Maoimi in Soulless Shell is supposed to be seventeen, but her age isn't mentioned until the final chapter and thanks to the hilariously clumsy writing she comes across as being about seven. The MSTing does not let this go un-riffed.
    Romsca: (as Maoimi) C'n I 'ave some candy, pwease, nice mister paedophile?
  • In the Naruto fanfic Sugar Plums the protagonist Ume is on average thought to be three to four years younger than her actual age because of her height (at age twelve she's only four foot two, making her a half foot shorter than Naruto when he graduated) and delicate features. It doesn't help that her teammates are three years older than her making the age disparity more jarring. It's implied and later stated that she's so short because of both genetics and early childhood malnourishment caused by the shoddy conditions of the orphanage where she was raised.
  • In the third chapter of The Super Starr Chronicles, Clara Creed (who looks like she's in her 30s) reveals she helped protect Canada during World War II, several decades before the events of the story. This is because she has a regenerative healing factor like her older brother Victor Creed, aka Sabertooth.
    • She goes on to reveal to Logan that she first met him in 1907, when she was 22 years old. This means she was born in 1885.
    • The ninth chapter reveals that First Line members Black Fox and Firefall had slowed aging as well, thanks to Black Fox being exposed to chronal energies in the 1940s, and Firefall being a relative of Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess.
  • Tales of the Canterlot Deportation Agency: As said in Bree, Bree looks younger than her, at the time, twenty-six years of age. "she often wondered if she always would".
  • Tales of the Otherverse: Due to Kryptonians and Daxamites having longer life spans, Supergirl and Mon-El look in their mid-twenties but they are about fifty.
    Rogue turned to see Lar looking at her. She still wasn't quite sure what to make of the young man. For young he was. Oh, Kara had explained that, in reality, he was older than he looked (Daxamites, like Kryptonians, had longer lifespans than Terrans and, as such, keep their young looks longer. It had been a shock to learn that Kara, though apparently in her mid-twenties, was still a teen in Kryptonian terms. Which would make her close to 50 or 60 in Terran years.
  • Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Two Spiders on a Web is in his late teens but can easily be mistaken for younger. This causes some problems for his college-aged lover, Spider-Gwen, after his secret identity is revealed to the world, since more than a few people are now accusing her of being a cradle robber.
  • A wand for Steven: Taking place after the events of the original cartoon, Steven is much older than he looks, his natural gem-ability to alter his own age allowing him to blend in with the other students despite actually being in his late teens.
  • Warriors Redux:
    • Firepaw was taken in by ThunderClan and sticks out like a sore thumb compared to his larger and thick-furred peers. Everyone keeps on mistaking him for a little kitten when he's two seasons (roughly 6 months) old.
    • ShadowClan cats are all scrawny to the point where they resemble apprentices, and some even kittens, as full-grown adults.
  • In Frozen fic What About Witch Queen?, Original Character Kai Madsen is said to look like a teenager despite being about twenty-five. His father, in contrast, is younger than he looks.
  • With Strings Attached takes place in 1980; when The Beatles are sent on their journey, they are physically (but not mentally) de-aged from the thirty-something men they are into the ages they were when Beatlemania was at its height.
    • In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, there are several instances of the four being considered “callow youths,” which makes some people seriously underestimate them. Which they use to their advantage whenever they can.
  • In With this Ring... (Green Lantern), Star Sapphire's handmaidens don't look older than twenty, but they're in fact far older than her thirty-something self.
  • Callista in Zero Context: Taking Out the Trash is indicated at points to be older than the late teens she appears to be. While the story takes place in 2020, she makes references to events she was present for during the mid-1990s, and while attending a wedding she decides to sport a few gray hairs in order to better reflect her true age.